1. It’s a fresh start.
No matter what you’ve done in the past, a new year is a fresh start, a fresh opportunity, a “soft reset” on life. I like that sense of self-forgiveness and self-accountability. Each new year brings the opportunity to restart, and that’s something we all need from time to time.
2. It’s a good time to reflect and capture lessons learned.
What better time to evaluate what we’ve done well and what we haven’t than at the end of a year? What better opportunity to consider the time we’ve invested in personal relationships and which have resulted in true, sincere friendships and which have not? Even more important, perhaps, is capturing those constructive self-evaluations in the form of lessons learned.
3. It’s a great time to apply new lessons learned.
If we continue doing what we did last year, we’ll likely get what we got last year, so it’s such a good time to pick a few new habits to start or stop, habits that will improve upon our current trajectory. For some hints on goal-setting in the new year, see my earlier post: 5 Tips to Great New Year’s Resolutions.
4. It creates an arbitrary but sensible milestone towards aspirations.
I love tracking progress towards long-term aspirations. Many aspirations are multi-year journeys that take many milestones along the way to achieve. It’s great to have these annual “rest stops” every new year to ensure I’m tracking toward my long-term goals. Furthermore, now, as a 40-something, I have year-over-year logs capturing progress and informing me whether or not my strategy has been working. Examples of this include my 5-year plan to lose 50 pounds which I did between ages 35 and 40 losing exactly 10 pounds each year.
5. It’s a (relatively) secular holiday.
It’s nice to have a holiday that is, at least relatively-speaking, secular and inclusionary, crossing most social, economic, and religious boundaries (understanding, of course, that there are other accepted calendars elsewhere in the world). After all, irrespective of when one’s calendar year starts, the basis of a new year recognizes the natural cycle of nature and our common planetary system around a shared sun.